Solid Gold vs Gold-Plated vs Gold Vermeil: Unveiling the Differences and the Superior Choice for Long-Term Brilliance

Solid Gold vs Gold-Plated vs Gold Vermeil: Unveiling the Differences and the Superior Choice for Long-Term Brilliance

When it comes to adorning oneself with the timeless elegance of gold, three options often come into mind: solid gold, gold-plated, and gold vermeil. While all three offer similar looks, they actually differ significantly in their composition, durability, and overall value. So in this blog post, we will talk about the differences between solid gold, gold-plated, and gold vermeil jewelry and which one is the better choice for your budget and long-term brilliance.


As the name suggests, solid gold is made entirely from pure gold. The purity of gold is measured in karats, with 24 karats being pure gold. Common karat values for jewelry include 10K, 14K, and 18K. The “K” here refers to the karat - in other words, the purity of gold. 10K typically contains 41.7% pure gold, 14K contains 58.3% pure gold, and 18K contains 75% pure gold. Because gold is a soft metal, it’s often mixed with other metals such as silver, nickel, iron, and so on, to make it harder.

On the other hand, gold-plated jewelry contains a very small amount of pure gold. The base metal can be brass, copper, nickel aluminum, or a mixture of different metals. The base metal is covered with a thin layer of gold, creating a “gold-plated” jewelry.

Gold vermeil is not pure gold either, but is made with 925 sterling silver or stainless steel, so the base metal is better quality compared to gold-plated jewelry. Similar to gold-plated jewelry, it is covered with a layer of gold, though this is often at least 10K, so the amount of gold used is higher.

There is also another type which is PVD-plated jewelry; this is when the base metal is covered with titanium nitride, so it contains no gold whatsoever, it just has a gold color.


Gold-plated jewelry usually wears down quickly because the gold plating is so thin. Similarly, PVD-plated jewelry will not last due to its coating. Gold vermeil is more likely to last longer considering it is made with sterling silver or stainless steel and plated in a thicker layer of gold, but it is still likely to wear off over time. So none of them will last as long as pure gold; solid gold jewelry will never wear off, and it is less prone to tarnishing or fading, making it a durable and long-lasting option.

Value Retention

Gold-plated jewelry has little to no resale value as the amount of gold used is very low, and the gold layer often wears off over time. The value retention of gold vermeil is generally higher than standard gold-plated jewelry due to the thicker gold layer and the use of sterling silver as the base.

Solid gold, on the other hand, is generally a very good investment as its resale value may be higher. ****But the karat alone doesn’t determine the value of gold, and there are a lot of factors that impact its value, such as market price, weight, design, and craftsmanship. So while there is no straight answer, gold has historically maintained its value so it is always a good investment.


Now, since gold-plated and gold vermeil jewelry hardly contain any solid gold (and PVD-plated contains no gold), they are going to be much cheaper than solid gold jewelry. So for those who want the look of gold at a lower cost, they are a good choice. Just because you can’t afford a real 14K gold chain doesn’t mean you shouldn’t flaunt your style! But make sure to get good-quality plated jewelry; gold vermeil perhaps comes closest to the look of solid gold, and will last longer compared to the others, so it might be the best choice out of gold alternatives overall.

While solid gold is more expensive, its durability and retention value make it the superior choice overall. Instead of buying new jewelry all the time because the plating keeps wearing off, or it keeps breaking, you only need one solid gold jewelry to last you a lifetime. So it’s actually worth the money in the long run.


Low-quality materials used in the making of gold-plated jewelry can cause some allergic reactions or leave a green mark on your skin. This is because when the gold layer is often too thin, it exposes the low-quality base metal, which may cause skin irritations. Gold vermeil is a better choice when it comes to plated jewelry as the base metal of 925 sterling silver or stainless steel is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Sterling silver is generally considered hypoallergenic, but some may still be sensitive to it. It also depends on how thick the gold layer is, as a thinner gold plating will be no different to gold-plated jewelry. Pure gold, on the other hand, is hypoallergenic as it is a pure metal and does not contain common allergens. However, as we mentioned, only 24K is pure gold, and 10K, 14K, and 18K still contain other metals. Some people may still be sensitive to those other metals used as alloys in gold, so choosing higher-karat gold can reduce the likelihood of reactions.

Care and Maintenance

Because gold-plated and gold vermeil jewelry are plated with gold, they require more delicate care as the gold layer can wear off easily and expose the base metal. On the other hand, there is no risk of wearing off with solid gold, so the only care and maintenance you need to take is to prevent tarnishing. So solid gold is easier to take care of, as it’s stronger and more durable. If you want to know more, take a look at our blog on How to Keep Your Gold Jewelry from Tarnishing.


No matter what anyone says, nothing will come close to the brilliance solid gold offers. Gold-plated or gold vermeil jewelry may look like gold, but they can never have that gold brilliance we all love so much. So if you want your jewelry to shine, solid gold is the way to go.

Long Term Brilliance

If you want gold jewelry that will last you the rest of your life, then solid gold is the only right choice. With proper care and maintenance, gold jewelry will always have its first-day shine and brilliance. But since solid gold can be a bit expensive, you want to get something that you know you will love and wear every day. So the cheaper alternatives can actually be a good test run to find the perfect piece for yourself. You can buy the styles you like in gold-plated to see which one suits you best. Once you find the perfect piece for yourself, you can commit to solid gold.

But keep in mind that we accept unused and unworn items within 30 days, so you can return your gold jewelry to us if you are not happy with it! To learn more check out our Returns Policy.

Experience High-Quality Gold Jewelry with Bayam

Let’s face it, there is nothing like the feel and brilliance of real gold. It is simply the embodiment of class and luxury. Considering composition, durability, looks, and everything else, it is the superior choice overall. Not only is real gold jewelry a timeless statement of style, but it is also so strong and durable that it can even be a sentimental piece that is passed down from generation to generation!

At Bayam Jewelry, we only sell real gold jewelry and we guarantee that our gold jewelry are worth the money. They are made with the highest quality materials with excellent craftsmanship, so not only are they stylish, but they are also strong and durable. We also offer a lifetime warranty for all our products against defects in material and workmanship.

Whether you are looking for gold Chains, Necklaces, Pendants, Bracelets, Rings, or Earrings, we have everything you can ask for in a variety of designs and colors. So go to Bayam Jewelry and find the perfect gold jewelry that will make you say “Oh my gold!”

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